Martha Wood Belcher

Artist Biography

Martha Wood Belcher was born in 1844 in England. As part of her studies, Belcher attended the art Academy of Munich, falling under the direction of history painters Wilhelm von Lindenschmidt and Joseph Flüggen. Belcher eventually immigrated to the United States, settling in the small town of Pittsford, VT. Although the artist would live in Pittsford for the rest of her life, she frequently traveled to New York City and continued her education at the Cooper Institute. Belcher quickly became involved in the New York City art world, earning membership into the New York Watercolor Club – a group begun in 1890 by artists such as the American Impressionist painter, Childe Hassam. Belcher also joined the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, which was dedicated to maintaining a high level of artistic talent in order to command “serious consideration, rather than the chivalrous condescension which hitherto had been accorded ‘female’ artists.” Most likely due to her mother’s talent and popularity, Belcher’s daughter, Hilda, became a famous artist as well. Hilda was widely recognized in her chosen profession as she not only studied with William Merritt Chase, George Bellows and George Luks, but was also elected a member of the National Academy of Design in 1932. Notably, Belcher’s works were exhibited beside her daughter’s at the Vermont Historical Society in 1993.
Berta N. Briggs, “The National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors,” Parnassus 4, no. 4 (April 1932): 33.

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